Against populists

In addition to economic and structural reforms, investments are also necessary within the European Union - wrote former Hungarian Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai in his guest commentary in the German business paper Handelsblatt. In his article titled 'Against populists', Gordon Bajnai explained how the initial hope and later the reality of rapidly catching up to the West led to the "great disillusionment" within the countries of the former Eastern bloc, and how this was followed by the appearance of nationalism and "identity issues", and how the EU was turned from an icon into a scapegoat.
One reason for the disappointment is that the EU is "grappling with and trying to redefine itself", and in this process, technocrats and populists are on opposing sides - wrote Gordon Bajnai.
He added that due to the global financial crisis, millions of people lost their position in the middle class and therefore it is hardly surprising that in almost all of the EU countries, populism has gained momentum, especially "in the form of nationalism."
The question remains: how does this situation affect the "three key topics of European economic policy, namely structural reforms, investments, and fiscal measures" - wrote the former Prime Minister, emphasizing that in order to reduce the national debt, it is necessary to be reasonable and fiscally prudent, but structural reforms are also long overdue in most EU member states.
In order to overcome the crisis, the EU is in need of "some restrictions, and much stronger structural reforms", and even more importantly, investments - opined Gordon Bajnai. He emphasized that believing that the only way to make investments, while lacking resources, is through the increase of debts, is erroneous. Citing a survey, he added that private investors have made investments in infrastructure of a trillion US dollars, which they managed to triple in five years.
The investment potential is available but there aren't enough suitable development projects, and the management capacity necessary for their implementation is lacking - wrote the former Prime Minister.
He stressed that it is necessary to have the "fertile triad of" austerity policies, structural reforms and investments, and also, "good politicians" who organize "public support" necessary for all this. This way, Europe would "finally draw courage and act effectively against populist tendencies" - wrote Gordon Bajnai.
Source: Handelsblatt